Professor Tracey Meares (1991)  

I have been a part of The Law School community for over a third of my life as either a student, an alum, or a faculty member. Over the past fourteen years, I have learned a great deal about The Law School – its strengths, its . . . idiosyncrasies, and, of course, how it has changed over the last decade.

Today The Law School offers many more courses than ever before. Place this year’s course announcements next to those of 1991 when I graduated, and you will see something like ninety more seminars and courses that cover an extremely varied array of topics. Both the faculty and student body are more intellectually diverse than was the case when I went to school here. And we certainly didn’t have A-COW-demia, our fiberglass art cow, to provide comic relief in the Green Lounge on short winter days.

While many changes have occurred in The Law School during the past decade, the changes have occurred on the surface. The essence of this place has remained unchanged over time. And it is this essence that makes the University of Chicago Law School experience so intense and exciting. One must ask then, what is it about Chicago that is so unique?

What is it about The Law School that explains why faculty members Frank Easterbrook, Richard Posner and Diane Wood continue to remain actively involved in teaching here after being appointed to the federal bench? Why do we have the most productive faculty in the country? Why, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Lawyer, are Chicago graduates the most sought after law school graduates by the nation's top 100 law firms? Why does such a long list of notable lawyers and public servants, whether they went to law school here or not, want to be involved in what we do here as teachers and supporters?

What is it that draws all of us here?

We often try to capture what’s distinctive about being here through phrases like "The University of Chicago is dedicated to the Life of the Mind." Or, "We have an unabashed enthusiasm for rigorous analysis and a love of ideas." These phrases, while evocative, don’t really convey the thrill of being at Chicago. Indeed no words can really describe the Chicago experience. It is something, quite simply, that must be lived.